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Outraged at the KAIROS cuts by the Cons? Here's 7 ways to support KAIROS

This got passed on to me from the United Church of Canada Twitter feed (yes, I was a bit surprised they use Twitter). They’ve linked to a page over at KAIROS that lists seven things you can do to support KAIROS and try to let the federal Conservatives know you don’t appreciate or support their funding cuts.

I’ll note as an aside that not listed in the members of the Federal Cabinet to contact is Jason Kenney, the Minister of Immigration who set off the firestorm by claiming KAIROS Canada’s funding was cut because they were anti-Israel/anti-Semitic, so I’m slightly curious whether this page was made before Jason Kenney opened his mouth to spew his rant (which did however serve a useful purpose in finding out why the Conservatives had instructed CIDA to cut KAIROS Canada funding a year or so after CIDA had issued a very positive report on the work KAIROS had done).

Not that it matters; I don’t think Kenney is the person to be writing to on this anyhow; he’s not shown himself to be a particularly reasonable guy.

UPDATE @ 11:09 am: Courtesy of Buckdog’s Twitter feed, we get this press release:

Jewish group slams Minister Kenny’s attack on Kairos

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) condemns Immigration Minister Kenny’s politicized move to defund social-justice church-group Kairos, which received government funding for 35 years. Kenny said this occurred because, in 2007, Kairos offered a grant to Sabeel, a Palestinian NGO that doesn’t mirror Conservative policy.

“This is the new McCarthyism. If you don’t tow the government line, you get your funding cut. From this week’s conference in Israel to the Canadian Parliamentary Committee to ‘Combat Anti-Semitism’, Kenny strives to stifle all criticism of Israel, falsely labelling it anti-Semitic,” says IJV spokesperson Sid Shniad.

Having worked with Sabeel, IJV was surprised by the accusation. “Sabeel doesn’t tolerate racism, especially, anti-Semitism,” Shniad said.

Explaining why the funding was cut, Kenny’s office referred to a report of NGO Monitor, a right-wing Israel-based activist group, which had erroneously stated that Sabeel supported sanctions against Israel. NGO Monitor is headed by Gerald Steinberg, a professor at Bar Ilan, known as Israel’s most right wing university. Sabeel has made no statement on sanctions or divestment.

IJV is appalled.

16 comments to Outraged at the KAIROS cuts by the Cons? Here’s 7 ways to support KAIROS

  • M Hawkns

    KAIROS does significant amount of aid work with global partners around the world. It’s member groups are heavily volunteer driven meaning that a large portion of the funding KAIROS does get goes into development work. CIDA provides this funding for KAIROS’ development work.

    The type of work KAIROS does is community level, meaning that a lot of the money given to KAIROS is used in its projects stays within the community. This is hugely important for development work and is not true in many other ‘development organizations’.

    The ‘anti-semite’ argument produced by DiManno (not a journalist but a sports columnist) and the Canadian government is the public McCarthyism of critical perspectives on Israel. It is disgusting and any self-respecting Canadian would be up in arms over the active assault on the freedom to form political views by this government. Toe-ing the government line on every political issue should not be criteria for government funding, yet that is the message Harper’s minority government has continued to send.

    KAIROS does have its own political positions – it also raises its own funds for this. CIDA’s money was for KAIROS’ development and aid work.

    I would suggest the real reason why KAIROS’ funding was cut had nothing to do with the public show of ‘anti-semitism’, which is meant to distract and get fact-empty articles by DiManno, it has to do with the work KAIROS actually does in communities. KAIROS supports communities who are attempting to gain control over their farms, their water, their forests through their own economic development. Communities charting their own economic development are increasingly fighting against environmentally and economically destructive extraction multinationals. These communities, empowered in part internationally by the development KAIROS does, are fighting against and bringing international attention to the human rights violations, environmental destruction, and all around illegal behaviour of Canadian mining companies.

    Let us be honest, the real reason why the Canadian government cut KAIROS’ funding: because they were too effective in empowering and developing communities, who no longer wanted to be exploited for a Canadian company’s profit. It is a lot easier to run one’s mouth about ‘anti-semitism’, no matter how poorly placed that label is in this case, than to be truthful. It is harder to say “I support the destruction of indigenous communities and environments for Canadian profit”. Let us be honest.

    • Jerome Bastien

      @M Hawkns, any self-respecting Canadian would be up in arms over the active assault on the freedom to form political views by this government

      Im quite certain that you and any other Canadian is perfectly free to “form political views”. And Im glad to hear that KAIRO’s work is so good and wonderful. That does not mean however that the Canadian taxpayer should pay for it. If KAIRO’s work is so wonderful, they should be able to convince people to donate voluntarily so that their “development and aid work” can continue.

      • Roll Tide

        @Jerome Bastien,

        He has admitted it has “political positions”..
        From Kairos annual report.
        “In November, we continued our advocacy against the Canada-
        Colombia Free-Trade Agreement,”

        A country that is threatened by a Venezuelan nutcase next door.

        Why should the taxpayer spend CIDA money towards an organization whose main focus is left wing government lobbying.
        I do not expect CIDA to give taxpayer money to the Fraser Institute. If CIDA refuses to fund the Fraser Institute, should we scream McCarthyism.
        Let Kairos pass a hat in a Church or Union Hall.

        • M Hawkns

          @Roll Tide,
          First, many right-wing organizations receive funding as well. Furthermore DFAIT’s economic attachés are working in the name of Canadian international corporations directly, particularly Canadian mining companies who have a practice of destroying local communities.

          KAIROS advocates in Canada for its local affiliates in other countries. What Harper is actually saying is that KAIROS is conducting development work with community organizations who are politically opposed to the Harper government’s economic interests in developing countries, and that is unacceptable.

          Canada is increasingly politicising its development aid, from levels that were already very politicised and manipulative, to financially bully communities into accepting Canadian companies and their exploitative and environmentally destructive activies.

          KAIROS having a position on the Colombian FTA, formed from opinions and positions that came from the direct communication with Colombian community organizations and labour unions, is not a justification for cutting its development funding. Do you have proof that KAIROS’ affiliate groups were using CIDA money for its personal campaigns, rather than the CIDA projects that it submits proposals for and receives the funding for? Any organization could receive CIDA money for a development project – and if that money is used in the development project it proposed then there is no argument about ‘political positions’. If the organization uses the money for something else, then fine cut the funding, but this should be public information. What did Harper promise? “Transparency”? There is no transparency, this is purely politically motivated because Harper does not like that the development work KAIROS does empowers local communities and not Canadian companies.

          KAIROS does get money from Canadian private sources for its political campaigns here. These private funds are used to communicate across Canada the positions of communities who do not have the resources of multinational corporation. Harper does not want Canadians to hear what Colombian farmers, workers, unionists, and communities are saying about the CCFTA so it not only attacks KAIROS but those communities that KAIROS does development work with. That money was CIDA projects helping those communities. What do you have against their political position? Why do you not want to punish those communities for having an opinion on a deal we are making that will affect their lives? Or because they are poor, they should shut up and take what our government shoves down their throats because we are rich?

        • Jerome Bastien

          @M Hawkns, I dont support any taxpayer $ going to a right wing org either. NGOs should fund themselves, otherwise they will always be subject to the whims of the political party in power.

          And you’re right that Harper doesnt want to have to deal with a situation in Columbia or whatnot – of course he doesnt.

          That doesnt mean that Canadian taxpayers should fund it.

  • Roll Tide

    Kairos is a highly political far left propaganda advocacy group that lobbies the government. Rossie Dimanno is spot on.

    If the Rev. McVety started a advocacy group on the right, threw in similar 4% humanitarian work for appearance, spent the rest on government lobbying, it also should be DENIED direct government funding.

    The mainstream Christian Churches claim huge memberships, fine, let the pass a special offering for Kairos to cover the shortfall. I know one denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, where a special Kairos offering would see a very slim take.

    @Jason Cherniak, @ Scott Tribe

    Independent Jewish voices is another far left advocacy group that received a donation from the United Church, and to the surprising credit of the United Church it was later regretted.

    http://www.cjc.ca/2009/09/22/united-church-vows-more-care-in-funding-criticized-for-grant-to-group-challenging-israel/

  • wilson

    o/t because it’s just too darn ironic

    BC is the only province with a carbon tax.
    BC was the only province in 2008 where their ghg’s INCREASED.
    ‘British Columbia’s dubious distinction was largely the result of oil and gas extraction, Environment Canada said.’

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/12/21/bc-greenhouse-gas-increase.html

    Gee, any day now the media will pick up on Saskatchewans Tar Sands projects….
    Western Canada is an energy super power, not just Alberta.

  • Jerome Bastien

    Sorry I just had to laugh at the notion that anybody could be outraged because some special interest group got its funding cut. Why the hell is the government funding these groups anyways? Just so they can say they’re “doing something” on this or that file, that’s why. It serves no purpose other than those of the special interest group. All taxpayer funding of such groups should be cut.

    • wilson

      It’s Liberals coming to the defense of Religious groups that is very odd……the LPC is the party where NO religion is allowed, where Ministers that are religious are not ‘qualified’ for their positions.

  • Ah. I see the IJV release has Sid Shniad. Google him to get an idea of who he is.

    He’s many things but mainstream is not one of them.

  • Very interesting Wilson. Unfortunately, Kenney screwed the pooch by cutting off funding before making this argument in public and proving his case. KAIROS should have been given an opportunity to change its tune just like the United Church recent did.

    Scott, IJV is no more a “Jewish Organization” than various right-wing fringe groups are “Christian organizations”.

  • wilson

    The TorStar has some facts for you Jason, saying Agency’s anti-Israel role is obvious:
    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/741315–dimanno-agency-s-anti-israel-role-is-obvious

    • @wilson, actually, that isnt a fact column – that’s Rosie DiManno’s op-ed, and as she’s the lone right-winger at the Star, it doesn’t surprise me one iota she’d come out with that crap.

  • This is another example of the Conservatives creating problems for Canada’s Jewish Community. If the accusations are true, the facts should have been made public first and KAIROS should have been given an opportunity to respond. Now, even if there was a valid concern, KAIROS has lost the chance to respond to it and everybody has lost the ability to make the argument in any believable manner.

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